The White House Beckons
For the past eight years, Bert's friends had been urging him to run for president. Gradually, he had come to accept the idea. As secretary of commerce, he had worked hard to streamline his agencies and to promote a more efficient lifestyle for Americans. As a progressive Republican in the old Theodore Roosevelt tradition, he was dismayed by Calvin Coolidge's conservative approach to politics. Although he had little support among the party's leadership, he was not concerned. He had been a fighter all his life, and so far had managed to succeed -- often against the odds-at everything he had set his mind to do. When Coolidge announced, from his Rapid City, South Dakota, summer home in 1927, that he did "not choose to run," Herbert Hoover was ready to step forward as his successor.
Lou was less pleased at this development. Edgar Rickard would recall that Bert only discussed his political plans in those early days when Lou was not in the room. In January she wrote her sons, "affairs are going with uncanny rapidity towards making your Daddy President. Even he is perfectly amazed at it, and sometimes says it just does not seem possible that it can all be happening on its own impetus, and practically without any effort on his part."1 This is undoubtedly naive, since Bert was certainly working very hard toward that goal, though he may not have admitted as much to his wife.
The whole concept of deliberately seeking election to the highest elective position in the land bothered Lou. Some years later, she chided a would-be biographer for encouraging "each little boy to think it is a wonderful thing to be the President, -- and that he may succeed to that position himself! . . . We want our Presidents to be chosen for that post because they have succeeded in doing worthwhile things